Purpose: To identify tumor suppressor genes epigenetically silenced by promoter hypermethylation in extranodal natural killer cell lymphoma (NKCL). Experimental Design: Promoter methylation was analyzed with global and locus-speci fic methylation assays in NKCL cases and NK cell lines. Gene expression profiles were used to identify genes for which aberrant promoter methylation was associated with transcriptional silencing. Selected DNA methylations were validated by RRBS, pyrosequencing, or q-MSP. Decitabine treatment was performed to evaluate reactivation of methylated genes. The tumor suppressor effect of silenced genes was evaluated functionally by reintroducing them into NK cell lines. Results: We observed significant promoter hypermethylation in most NKCL samples compared with normal NK cells. Correlation of global promoter methylation with gene expression profiles identi fied 95 genes with strong evidence for being silenced because of promoter methylation, including BCL2L11 (BIM), DAPK1, PTPN6 (SHP1), TET2, SOCS6, and ASNS. Known tumor suppressor genes were significantly overrepresented in this set of genes. Decitabine treatment of NK cell lines was associated with reexpression of all 10 selected methylated and silenced genes. Ectopic expression of frequently silenced BIM in two BIM-nonexpressing NK cell lines led to increased apoptosis and eventual elimination of BIM-transduced cells. It also sensitized these cell lines to chemotherapy-induced apoptosis. Similarly, reintroduction of SOCS6 significantly inhibited growth in SOCS6-nonexpressing NK cell lines. NK cell lines lacking ASNS expression showed increased sensitivity to treatment with L-asparaginase. Reintroduction of ASNS reduced drug sensitivity. Conclusion: Promoter region hypermethylation is frequent in NKCL, and aberrantly methylated genes are pathologically and clinically significant.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research